The Mercer women’s basketball team has had a busy schedule of late. Their first game of the year came against Brevard in their homecoming game. The game began with Brevard coming out strong with a 13-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but Mercer came back with vengeance. The Bears buckled down defensively and held Brevard to only eight points in the final 15 minutes of the first half after their initial 13 to begin the game. Mercer got a boost offensively from Kendra Grant who finished with 14 points and Alicia Williams who added 12 points. Grant, made her return to the floor after being sidelined consistently the past two years due to battling injuries. The Bears continued their offense attack and defensive prowess in the second half and finished up the game with a 57-50 win.
Mercer’s next game came against Troy on the road. Troy came out early with their biggest lead coming at 26-17 but the Bears came roaring back with a 13-2 run. From that point on the Bears held Troy at bay. Precious Bridges contributed a career-high 25 points and a career-high in points from Tabitha Bradshaw with 23 points and five assists. Mercer finished the game strong in the second half and was able to come away with a 96-90 victory over Troy. After the game, head coach Susie Gardner said, “This was a game where everyone on our team helped out and this squad is very confident right now because even when we got down early we still believed in each other,” Gardner said, “We shot the ball very well tonight and were able to get to the line and hit some clutch free throws late when we needed to. I could down the list and say what each player did to help us win tonight, but we just found a way to win and to make the big plays late which I think shows the growth and maturity of our team this year.”
Jacksonville State was the next opponent for the Bears back at home. Mercer was able to rely on the free throw line early in the game to stay close in the contest. In the game the Bears went 24-31 at the free throw line. The Bears were led by Precious Bridges who had a game-high 18 points. Mercer also had an excellent offensive effort from Tabitha Bradshaw who had 16 points and Kendra Grant who finished with 12 points. Mercer came away with the win in the end by a final score of 63-51. This marked the Bears first 3-0 start since 1999.
Mercer traveled up to South Bend to take on a tough Notre Dame squad and put their undefeated record on the line. Notre Dame came out strong from the beginning and never looked back. At the half, Mercer trailed 48-12. Things did not get any easier for Mercer in the second half as Notre Dame’s size and pressure proved to be too much. Tabitha Bradshaw led the team with 10 points. Despite a valiant effort from the Bears, Notre Dame took the win by a final score of 93-36.
Mercer once again found themselves on the road facing another tough team in Furman. In the first half, both teams experienced runs, but Furman had more fire power finishing off the first half with a 40-29 lead. Despite an aggressive second half from the Bears and Kendra Grant tying her career-high in points with 24, the Bears were still unable to capitalize on a win as Furman went on to win the game 73-64. After the game Susie Gardner said, “At one point in the first half we got down by 11 points. They had made 13 more free throws than us and we had two players in Sharnea and Tabitha who each had three fouls, but we kept battling,” head coach Susie Gardner said. “I thought we battled back, we took the lead in the second half and never quit fighting, but Furman played very hard as well.”
The Bears will look to snap their 2 game skid next against Davidson at home on Nov. 28 and will then travel to Georgia on Dec. 4 and Georgia Southern on Dec. 7.